Top 4 Food and Drink Trends for Fall 2018

biggest food and drink trends

Posted: Oct. 09, 2018

Drinking warm cider and baking pies are classic fall food traditions. Fortunately, tradition can also inspire new interpretations. As we see year after year, the restaurant industry finds new approaches to culinary staples, and 2018 is no different. At your restaurant, put a spin on the menu with fall’s biggest food and drink trends.

As popular as ever, farm-to-table and locally sourced ingredients continue to drive flavor profiles. We now see this interest is being kicked up a notch, with more focus being put on authentic ingredients and exotic meat. Read about other fall food trends for 2018 (like cinnamon rolls and brandy cocktails) below.

International and Healthful Comfort Food

The nostalgic and familiar are welcomed more than ever this fall—comforting food relaxes customers. Often hand-held or something that can be eaten on the sofa during a Netflix binge, comfort food in 2018 has a hint of familiarity and a ton of modern-day consumer tastes.  

What started as the healthy-comfort-food trend in 2017 has become the catch-all of food trends in 2018. Consumers are diving into international street foods, and gussied-up versions of their favorite comfort foods, except they incorporate eastern spices or vegan preferences. Other examples of major food trends that fit into the comfort-food-trend-box are:

  • Diet-focused pizza, for instance, replacing white dough with wheat dough or even cauliflower mash.
  • Bowls, such as the Hawaiian poke bowl trend.
  • Hand-held breakfast options, like the breakfast burrito.

Consumers want a diversity of flavors at affordable prices (price-points being one of the reasons customers have moved on from molecular gastronomy). We can expect delivery orders to increase as the weather gets colder, so consider upgrading your comfort dishes into healthy alternatives or exotic flavor-bombs this fall.

Brandy Cocktails

In 2017, whiskey was on its way out. This year, it’s about brandy. “We are bored of whiskey; let’s get on to the next thing already—Cognac and brandy,” said Liz Pearce last year, the group beverage director/partner of Chicago-based restaurant and bar operator Bonhomme Hospitality Group.

It’s a versatile liquor; great for both classic cocktails and mixologist creations. Plus, there’s a wide range in value and prices that increases its mixability, such as the first American-made brandy designed for mixing and shaking, Bertoux. The makers of Bertoux are setting the stage for their liquor to be as universal as Campari, and many New York City bars currently stock it.

“Cognac was at the heart of so many classic cocktails, such as the Sazerac, Old Fashioned, and the Sidecar, but was replaced by rye and whiskey when it got too expensive or hard to find,” revealed Alexandra Albu, director of sales and marketing for CIL US Wine and Spirits, a subsidiary of Camus Cognac. “Mixologists are now rediscovering why Cognac was the original ingredient.”

With the arrival of new, affordable brandies, brandy cocktails are set to be the biggest drink trend for fall 2018. Challenge your bar team to come up with a new brandy-centered drink and promote it as a cocktail special. Then, use your bar POS system to gauge its popularity and make adjustments to the recipe depending on the order numbers.

Butcher-to-Table

The comfort food trend also brings a new interest in artisan butchery, a 2018 food trend we forecasted last November 2017. Chefs are expanding their menus to include more exotic meat options, like venison, bison, and elk. Butcher-to-table is going to make its mark on the food industry in the near future, and while the price points will increase, telling the background story of where your restaurant sources its ingredients from will help customers transition into paying more.

Cinnamon-Roll Spices

Thanks to Starbucks, pumpkin spice became the season’s most ubiquitous flavor, but this fall, its title for “Most Popular” will be challenged. According to Food Business News, cinnamon-roll spices are predicted to replace pumpkin spice in the marketplace. Since grocery store purchases are a sign of consumer spending, you can be sure this trend will influence restaurant orders.

On exhibit at major confection convention Sweet and Snacks Expo were several big-name food brands featuring cinnamon roll-flavored products. The first to dive into the trend was Ben & Jerry’s with a vegan Cinnamon Buns pint. Others included:

  • American Licorice Co. debuting the Red Vines Cinnamon Roll Twistettes, which feature flavors of cinnamon and frosting.
  • Angie’s Boomchickapop, a business unit of Conagra Brands, with a cinnamon roll-drizzled kettle corn variety.
  • Lehi Valley Trading Co. offering Snackworthy Simply Cinnamon Roll Puffs, which are baked crispy corn puffs featuring a cinnamon-spiced caramel coating.
  • Flapjacked Mighty Muffins line with a cinnamon roll variety, featuring 20 grams of protein and hints of real frosting.
  • TH Foods, Inc. debuting a range of snack mix components, including a cinnamon bun stick; a sesame stick dipped in honey and lightly coated with a sweet cinnamon-bun seasoning.

The flavor profile matches the fall season just right, so introduce your version of the cinnamon roll-spice trend now before everyone else does.

Incorporating these food and drinks trends gives you a competitive edge. Your restaurant will stand out as a trendsetter and these four trends will last you well into 2019.

Posted: Oct. 09, 2018 | Written By: Emma Alois

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